Touchdown Chili

This recipe is the result of living in 14 different houses from coast to coast. We were exposed to 5 different professional football, and 8 different NCAA Division One, types of tailgates in our lives. It seemed every city, and even certain team fans, had a different spin on their favorite local chili. Flavor variations included things like deep Worcestershire flavored meat sauces, spaghetti noodles, cinnamon, smoked bacon, heavy nutmeg, charred sweet corn, every bean known to humankind, beers, wines, bourbons, beef stock, Italian sausage, sirloin, lamb and just about anything you can imagine.

Our chili, while staying true to classic Kentucky roots is very meat forward with few beans, and combines the best flavors we have found while running from tailgate to tailgate during our last 60 years. We also have spent far too much of our retirement life experimenting with various flavor profiles and proportions, but how can you beat a chili that contains beer, bourbon, cinnamon and brown sugar right?

You will also find our recipe contains a massive ingredient list. Why? Because this is the best combination of the best recipes we have tasted. With this in mind, we find people commonly like to substitute.  For example, we found the best texture and flavor came from using only Bush beans, and only the Pinto and Chili beans. We also only use diced San Marzano tomatoes because they are lower acid tomatoes and taste better than others. Nevertheless, other things or brands may work for you, so have at it.

Lastly, this chili goes great with our Cornbread recipe.


  • Servings: ”8-12″
  • Difficulty: ”Moderate”</p>
  • Print

  • 2 Pounds of Ground Chuck
  • 1 Pound of Good Italian Sausage
  • 3 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
  • 1 15 Ounce Cans of Bush Pinto Beans
  • 1 15 Ounce Can of Bush Chili Beans
  • 2 28 Ounce cans of Diced San Marzano Tomatoes
  • 1 6 Ounce Can of Tomato Paste
  • 1 Large Chopped Yellow Onion
  • 3 Stalks of Chopped Celery
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper Chopped and Seeded
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper Chopped and Seeded
  • 2 Large Jalapeno Peppers Chopped and Seeded
  • I Slice of Chopped and Cooked Smoked Bacon
  • 4 Cubes of Beef Bouillon
  • 1/2 Cup of Good Beer
  • 1/8 Cup of Chili Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon of Bourbon
  • 2 Tablespoons of Worcester Sauce
  • 2 Tables of Chopped Garlic
  • 3 Tables of Fresh Chopped Oregano
  • 2 Teaspoons of Ground Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon
  • 3 Tablespoons of Fresh Chopped Basil
  • 1 Teaspoon of Kosher Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon of Black Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon of Smoked Paprika
  • 1/4 Cup of Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 Package of Spaghetti Noodles
  • 1 Cup of Shredded Cheddar Cheese for Topping
  • 6 Chopped Green Onions for Topping
  • 1 Cup of Sour Cream for Topping
  • 2 Cups of Oyster Crackers for Topping
  • 1 Additional Sliced Jalapeno Pepper for Topping


  1. Brown the Chuck and Italian sausage in the butter and oil, in a large stock pot.
  2. Add in Worcestershire sauce, bourbon, onions, celery, peppers, garlic, oregano, cumin, basil, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and smoked paprika. Cook for another 12 minutes on medium heat.
  3. Add all other ingredients, and stir to blend.
  4. Bring to a slow boil, lower heat to simmer and cover the pot.
  5. Let the chili simmer for a minimum of 2 hours “but preferable 4 to 6 hours”. (In fact, refrigerating this chili after cooking, and then serving it the next day, is even better as ingredients and spices meld overnight.)
  6. Before serving, prepare your toppings by boiling and draining spaghetti noodles, shredding the cheddar cheese, and chopping the green onions. Put those items, as well as the oyster crackers and sour cream, in separate bowls.
  7. Serve chili over the spaghetti noodles in bowls, and allow guests to top the chili with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped green onion and oyster crackers.


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